A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds, according to Childhelp, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping abused and neglected children.
Children who suffer abuse can be affected negatively in many ways, said Dr. Bushra Aziz, a child psychiatrist at OU Health Sciences Center.
Many abused children have attachment problems in the future, Aziz said. They can become anxious and fearful, and some can't control or express their emotions. And in the future, they may even become abusive toward their own children.
“A boy in seventh grade came to me with the complaint by his mother that he was having an anger problem,” Aziz said. “His stepbrother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and would physically and mentally abuse him. The brother locked him up in a closet.
“His father was an alcoholic and now he is in jail. His grandmother got in a car accident that distorted her personality. She became the victim of depression.
“All these things hurt that child. It psychologically altered him. Now he needs medication because of all the abuse he faced.”
Children are like clay, Aziz said. If they are molded correctly, then the shape will come out clear and good. However, if they aren't molded well, the shape will be distorted and bad.
In addition to harming children, abuse affects society in a negative way.
More than 1 in 3 women in America were abused when they were children, according to Childhelp. About 1 in 7 men in prison was abused as a child. Also, children who are abused or neglected are 59 percent more likely to be sent to a juvenile detention facility.